Meeting unmet healthcare needs in rural areas
Mercy College of Ohio, located in downtown Toledo, was recently awarded a $557,234 Primary Care Training and Enhancement-Physician Assistant Rural Training (PCTE-PAR) grant from the Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA).
The grant will be used to aid the increase of clinical rotations for Physician Assistant (PA) students in rural areas from July 2022 through June 2027 and support Mercy College’s PA program.
It provides stipends for participants who complete 12 weeks of clinical rotations in primary care settings; instructions in telehealth, professional education opportunities for clinical staff alongside other PA students.
President of Mercy College, Susan Wajert, explained how the grant will assist PA graduates who will serve rural communities and address the deficiency of healthcare needs in the area.
“We believe this will better equip our PA graduates to serve the unmet healthcare needs of rural communities and to increase the number of PAs entering the rural, primary care setting upon graduation.”
Clinical Coordinator and Assistant Professor of the Physician Assistant program, Dr. Tara Jenner-Donaldson, will be serving as the PCTE-PAR project director. Jenner-Donaldson stated how the grant will aid Mercy College with increasing the number of healthcare workers in the workplace.
“This grant will provide Mercy College with the opportunity to meet the health workforce goal of increasing the number of primary care practitioners who are ready to practice and lead the transformation of healthcare systems aimed at improving access, quality of care, and cost effectiveness in rural areas.”
Physician Assistant students who are looking to practice in rural medicine and other rural healthcare services are encouraged to apply to Mercy College’s Master of Physician Assistant (PA) Studies program to potentially participate in the Primary Care Training and Enhancement grant.
The seven-semester program features a rigorous schedule of curriculum aimed at providing a graduate-level learning experience for prospective students looking to grow their education in healthcare. As a 118-credit hour program, students will also have seven required Supervised Clinical Practice Experiences (SCPE) where they can gather practical real-world experiences with patients between 40-60 hours a week.
Additional admission requirements and program information are available at www.mercycollege.edu/mpas.